Pole Sports Takes a Historic Leap with GAISF Observer Status

Pole Sports Takes a Historic Leap with GAISF Observer Status
Written by Vertical Wise

One step for Pole Athletes – One huge leap for Pole Sports. The International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) has been awarded the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Observer Status. This milestone paves the way for further development and recognition of pole sports, bringing it closer to achieving full GAISF membership and potentially becoming part of the Olympic program. Explore the significance of this achievement and what it means for the future of pole sports.

The Importance of Observer Status

The Observer Status allows new, young International Federations to take advantage of the GAISF network to grow and develop and has been designed as the first step in a clear path towards full GAISF membership. Observers will be accompanied by GAISF in their development towards the fulfilment of all criteria required for membership, such as increasing the number of members in various countries and receiving the required recognitions by National Olympic Committees or by national sports authorities.


Words from GAISF President

Patrick Baumann, President of GAISF said:

We warmly welcome our first Observers. This is an exciting time for them and for us and we will do everything within our remit to help them realise their full potential as International Federations within the global sport’s family and, one day, maybe become part of the Olympic program. The new sports debuting at Tokyo 2020 and at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics are evidence that the pathway is there.

The excitement from IPSF President

Katie Coates, President of the IPSF added:

This is a historical day for Pole Sports, our athletes and our community. The IPSF is very proud to have taken this positive step towards official recognition and the GAISF Observer Status will give our sport the opportunity to develop further, on the national and on the international stage, taking us even closer to full GAISF membership. In just eight years we have created a sport, ignited a global following and inspired a new generation of sportsmen, -women and children. I am thankful to the IPSF and GAISF teams and excited about the future of our sport.

Other Federations Granted Observer Status

GAISF currently has approximately 100 pending requests for membership, with around 15 of them officially requesting Observer Status. The Membership Commission evaluated the 15 submissions and selected the seven federations with the most advanced applications, one of which was the International Pole Sports Federation. Other federations who have been awarded Observer Status are the World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), World Dodgeball Association (WDA), Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL), International Federation of (Match) Poker (IFP), International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF).

Steady Growth of the IPSF

The IPSF has seen huge growth over the past 6 years. In 2012, 39 elite male and female athletes from 14 countries attended the championships. By the 2017 championships, this number increased by 83% to 229 male, female, youth and Para Pole athletes from 36 countries.

Development of the sport over the years:

2009 – Formation of the IPSF
2012 – First World Championships
2013 – Introduction of a youth program
2014 – First contact with SportAccord (now GAISF)
2014 – Anti-Doping programme introduced
2015 – First application to SportAccord (now GAISF)
2016 – Approved as a WADA signatory
2016 – Applied to the IOC for membership
2017 – Signed a trilateral agreement with the FIG and GAISF to allow the IPSF membership of GAISF

Pathway to Olympic Recognition

What does this mean for Pole Sports now?

The IPSF needs to reach 40 Federations and with the help of the IPSF, these federations can now show that they are part of an international federation that is working officially with GAISF which will assist with national government recognition. This will help them gain funding, assist their athletes and grow Pole Sports in their country. The IPSF will be contacting all existing federations with the invitation to apply as well as inviting groups of passionate people to create federations in countries where they are needed, all with the guidance of the IPSF.

What does this mean for our Olympic goals?

Becoming an Olympic sport requires the following main criteria:

  1. To be a WADA signatory  – The IPSF has this
  2. To be a member of GAISF – The IPSF is firmly in the process
  3. To have 50 federations as a summer sport – The IPSF is working towards this

The question we are always asked is whether will Pole Sports become an Olympic Sport. All the IPSF can guarantee is that they will work towards meeting the criteria and their long-term goals.

How to Get Involved in Pole Sports

How can you be a part of one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet?

You can:

  • Join IPSF as an existing federation and they will assist you with your national recognition and developing Pole Sports in your country.
  • Create a federation in your country and they will guide you through the process with their dedicated federations and competitions team.
  • Become an IPSF athlete, join your national federation, and take part in the 20 competitions IPSF as well as benefit from the national recognition process.
  • Become an IPSF Certified instructor or coach and help to educate enthusiasts and athletes around the world.
  • Join the IPSF as a volunteer and help grow pole sport at the heart of the movement.

A Democratic Federation

The IPSF is a democratic federation and each leading member of the pole sports committee from around the world (South Africa, Canada, USA, Greece, Germany, Singapore, etc.) has been voted in at the General Assembly.


The IPSF is committed to working towards its Olympic goals and meeting the criteria for becoming an Olympic sport. With its status as a WADA signatory and its ongoing process of becoming a GAISF member, the IPSF is steadily progressing. While the question of whether pole sports will become an Olympic sport remains, the IPSF is dedicated to fulfilling the necessary requirements and pursuing its long-term goals. Join the pole sports movement and be a part of one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet.

*This article was first published on: Oct 18, 2017

Join the discussion and share your thoughts on this milestone achievement for pole sports. Leave a comment below and let us know your perspective on the IPSF’s journey towards Olympic recognition.

About the author

Vertical Wise

Vertical Wise is an international website dedicated to supporting and promoting the world of pole dancing and aerial fitness. Our mission is to spread awareness, share knowledge, and celebrate the incredible artistry and athleticism of these disciplines. Join us as we connect enthusiasts, athletes, and professionals from around the globe, fostering a vibrant community that inspires and empowers individuals to reach new heights in their fitness journey.

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